The most likely to knock you off your seat — Gro
Yeah Gro! Between four white walls, two young cooks are busy sharpening their punch lines. Here, everything needs to shock, provoke and chisel the taste buds. Like this silky Arctic char filet, electrified by a bitter cream and pickled cucumbers. Or these bombastic beets, roasted whole or served as a tangy purée, with Swedish pecorino, black beans and barley pop corn. And to drink? French, Italian and Slovakian wines, all of them natural! Four-course menu €50, wine pairing €50. Reservations are a must.
Sankt Eriksgatan 87, Stockholm 11332 / +46 8 643 42 22 / grorestaurang.se
The tearjerker — Spritmuseum
Petter Nillson (the former star chef at La Gazzetta in Paris) has made it to the hall of fame! His art: grabbing you by the heartstrings and holding on tight with this menu that’ll have you tearing up with joy. The emotional lineup? Bloody pigeon, offal modestly covered with a veil of chard and, as the only garniture, a crouton roasted for a long time in an insane jus. Before a plum blossom ice cream and a sorrel granita. Beautiful bottles (Prieuré Roch, Foradori, Ganevat, etc.) and handsome glasses (Balagny or Dard et Ribo). Eight-course menu €85, wine pairing with five glasses €85. Reservations are a must.
Messy chic — Babette
At Babette, it’s a bit like Franny’s in Brooklyn. Everything is extremely simple and delightfully delicious. There are devilishly good tapas to pass around (kohlrabi tossed in yogurt and sumac; well cooked mackerel filet, slices of rhubarb and a powerful horseradish purée; veal tartare with Parmesan and colatura, etc.) and outstanding pizzas of the day. Pair it all with a Ganevat from the wine armoire, lined up next to a Ducru Beaucaillou! Plates €8-17, pizzas €14-17. Reservations recommended.
Roslagsgatan 6, Stockholm 11355 / +46 8 509 022 24 / www.babette.se
The highest ceiling — Oaxen Slip (room photo)
In a luminous hangar, a neo-bistro with a ceilings so high that they’ve hung boats from them! An ideal spot for visually navigating the nouvelle vague of Swedish gastronomy (cute little plates of herring, potatoes and bitter cream; whole roasted turbot for four gluttons; pig’s head with cabbages and grilled apples…) with a joyful crew, seated around a communal table. They’ve got a short wine list featuring Claire Naudin, Mark Angeli and Pithon-Paillé. Appetizers €15-17, turbot €150, pig’s head €70. Reservations recommended.
The blackest cup of joe — Johan & Nyström
If the coffee cup is the hipster plaything of the 2010s, and we are definitely in Europe’s hippest neighborhood (Södermalm aka SoFo), then this is where you’ll find all the good beans! Transformed by a tattooed barista, via increasingly geeky procedures (Aeropress, Chemex, V60 filtered), the Arabica here can be paired with a pea sandwich or a noble pastry…. Eaten while seated on a wooden bench. Coffee €3, pastries €3-6.50. No reservations necessary.
And also: Vina (Sofiagatan 1, Vid Greta Garbos torg, Stockholm 11665 / +46 7 040 666 26 / email@example.com) for a glass of Quartz de Courtois on a sunny terrace; Teatern (sausage photo) in Ringen Centrum (Götgatan 132, Stockholm 11862 / +46 8 696 303 1 / ringencentrum.se/teatern) for their sausage sandwiches by Magnus Nilsson; and Drop (Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, Stockholm 11850 / +46 8 410 233 63 / www.dropcoffee.com) for their strong Colombian espresso.
All photos © Adrien Simon